December 27, 2021: The wheat sowing period is the most critical period for the crop and any issues arising should be catered to timely in order to stay on track, stated by Syed Fakhar Imam, federal minister of National Food Security and Research while chairing the wheat review committee on the issue of crop sowing position 2021-2022, said a press release.
The meeting was conducted with the provincial counterparts to monitor the ongoing sowing of wheat crops in the country. Fakhar Imam said that the purpose of the meeting was to ensure progress is monitored in order to ensure that the assigned wheat crop targets are met.
Previously this meeting was conducted twice a year and now due to the extraordinary focus of the current government on agriculture, regular monitoring is being done through weekly meetings.
The minister was briefed that Punjab stood at 99% sowing against their revised target of 16.67 million acres. The current Sewing of Punjab stands at 16.575 million acres. Secretary Agriculture Punjab briefed Fakhar Imam that Punjab will achieve its sowing target. Water availability is an ongoing limiting factor and that Punjab is working on improving its track and trace system for seeds.
Director Technical said that Sindh stands at 98% of the assigned target of 2.99 million acres. While KPK Secretary Agriculture Israr Ahmed said that KPK stands at 85% of the assigned target area at 1.89 million acres. Similarly, DG Agriculture Extension Masood Baloch said that Balochistan stands at 80% of the assigned target area at 1.1 million acres.
KPK and Balochistan pointed out the lack of rainfall and said that the absence of rainfall can adversely affect the overall sowing area in these provinces, however, if rainfall occurs then sowing targets will be achieved. It was a general consensus that certified seed was adequately available. However, high prices and unavailability of urea were considered an ongoing challenge.
Minister was briefed that the high price of DAP has also resulted in its overall lower usage.
Few parameters have been established to ensure that wheat crop sowing is monitored effectively, he added.
The minister said these parameters include but are not limited to wheat sowing area and a completion percentage of the assigned target, sowing method (Drilling or Broadcasting), the quantum of fertilizer used during sowing practices (DAP and Urea), fertilizer offtake, certified seeds used, seed varieties used during sowing (old or new rust tolerant wheat varieties), availability status of herbicides and fertilizer availability and pricing status, etc.
Fakhar Imam ensured all the participants that necessary steps will be immediately taken to ensure that the factors of production are available in ample supply.
Punjab Agriculture Secretary briefed Fakhar Imam that the government of Punjab conducted numerous seminars to create awareness in addition to partnering with five agricultural universities of Punjab to mobilize 3000 agricultural students in ensuring proper sowing of wheat seeds.